Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: Beginning CakePHP From Novice to Professional

I have been getting into CakePHP development more and more recently. With all the CakePHP books that have come out in the past year, I was hoping I could find one that would be a pretty comprehensive guide to CakePHP. I was looking for something that would basically tell me everything that Cake’s online manual would. I know I will get the usual “why not just read the manual?”. Well, if I have time to read a book, I’m not usually around a computer, and reading off the computer screen for an extended period of time isn’t pleasant.

Beginning CakePHP From Novice to Professional does a decent job covering the basics of CakePHP. Having built even the simplest of applications with Cake before reading this book, I was able to breeze through the first half of the book. Much of it covers the very basics, including installation and setup, naming conventions, and etc. Most of the code examples in the book extend Cake’s blog tutorial, which most Cake developers will be familiar with.

The book covers CakePHP 1.2, which is currently the latest major release. I was surprised it does not include documentation on how to upgrade a site from 1.1 to 1.2. Of course, it is different for every site, but some general instructions would be a good idea. The book has a paragraph on ACL with CakePHP, but no more than that. ACL is one of the more complex paradigms in Cake, and it would have been nice to have some documentation on this subject.

I learned a few tricks from this book, but nothing I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. Beginning CakePHP From Novice to Professional would be great for those brand new to CakePHP, but it definitely does not cover more than the basics. If you are already familiar with Cake and have been working with it for a while, this book will be of little use to you. Hopefully one of the other CakePHP books out there will go into more depth than this one. As I read them, I will review them here, so be on the look out for them.

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Book Review: Watchmen

Watchmen is a graphic novel based in an alternate 1985, where Richard Nixon is still President. Costumed heroes have been outlawed, except for those sponsored by the government. The fear is that people with that much power can wreak havoc if unchecked. The story starts off with the death of The Comedian, a costumed hero that has done a great deal of work for the government. Rorschach, another costumed hero, one that is not government sponsored, finds his death very suspicious. He investigates his death, and the eventual deaths of other costumed heroes. The character profiles and personalities are not particularly original, especially to those big into comic books, but they are based on tried and true characters that work.

The time setting is obviously dated, but story itself could easily be adapted to the present day. There is plenty of detail, both in the writing and the artwork, that will make you want to read this over so that you don’t miss anything. There are some excerpts from an biography written by one of the characters that do give some important details to the back story, but they can be a bit long and dry. It would have been nice if these details were worked in more seamlessly with some artwork, rather than the excerpts used.

Overall, the book is a great work of art. With the movie due out in less than a week, I recommend reading it before seeing the movie. I think the movie will be good, but will not do the book justice. It will be a tough story to adapt to film. The excerpts I mentioned earlier will have to be told instead of read. Something I neglected to mention, the comic within the comic, will hopefully make it into the film in some way or another. It is not key to the story, but it is one of those little touches of detail that makes the book great.

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